WATER company United Utilities is set to pay out nearly £181 million in dividends to shareholders two days before imposing a hosepipe ban.
Despite being under fire for limiting water usage to 7m homes in the north west of England as its reservoirs run dry, the firm will dish out its largest payout in a decade.
United Utilities reservoirs have been left with severely low water levels[/caption]
The company has blamed the lack of rainfall for its dry reservoirs despite being the only firm in England and Wales to impose a hosepipe ban.
But it was recently revealed to lose more than 400 million litres of water every day from leaks, and has turned to sniffer dogs to detect pipe faults.
Meanwhile, United Utilities boss Steve Mogford earned £2.3m in 2017.
Jim McMahon, the Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton, said: “This isn’t just about water leaking out but money which should be used to maintain the water network leaking out as quickly.
The water company will impose a hosepipe ban on August 5 to combat the dry spell[/caption]
“The first and last responsibility of the water company should be about maintaining the supply, and it has failed.”
A spokesman for water regulation authority, Ofwat, said: “The decisions some water companies have made on dividends, financial structures and top executive pay have damaged customer trust.
“Through measures we announced earlier this month, we are strengthening the incentive on companies to improve their performance for customers and cutting the rewards that come from financial engineering.”
United Utilities was fined £8m for under-performance last year. It said the payouts were in line with retail price inflation and its “five-year growth policy”.
The company has come under fire over its pipe leakages during the heatwave[/caption]
The firm has had to employ sniffer dogs to detect leaks in its pipes[/caption]
A spokesman said: “We deliver a range of benefits and long-term value for customers, the environment, and shareholders.
“Between 2015 and 2020 , we are investing over £3.5bn in essential infrastructure.”
Thames Water last month announced it would halt bonuses to bosses this year and suspend dividend payments to its shareholders.
The ban means customers will not be allowed to use either a hosepipe or sprinkler to water their gardens.
They were also told not to fill up paddling pools, or face fines of up to £1,000.
The United Utilities water restrictions
- Watering a garden and/or plants using a hosepipe
- Cleaning a private car, van, motorbike, trailer, caravan or leisure boat using a hosepipe
- Filling or maintaining a domestic swimming pool, paddling pool or ornamental fountain
- Cleaning walls or windows using a hosepipe
- Using a water from a hosepipe for domestic recreational use
- Cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe
- Cleaning other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe.
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A statement added: “Please use a watering can instead or, even better, reuse any water from the home such as water from washing up bowls or bath water.
“We know hosepipe bans can be inconvenient but by taking these steps now we can make sure we have enough water for more essential things like drinking, washing and cooking.”
The North West is the second region facing a hosepipe ban after Northern Ireland.
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